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Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All Major League Ballparks Hardcover – October 31, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Though technically a reference book (alphabetical arrangement, encyclopedia-style entries), this guide to major league and Negro League ballparks belongs in most library circulating collections. For baseball fans, it's browsing heaven. The entries do more than just describe the 410 ballparks, their physical dimensions, and their occupants over time. In paragraphs labeled "Phenomena," author Lowry delivers juicy details about each park that provide their own sociopolitical commentary (Ruppert Stadium in Newark, for example, home of the Negro League Newark Eagles, was located near a garbage dump, which generated so much smoke and such horrible smells that games were often delayed). Similarly, fans will read the story behind the story of various stadiums' name changes (Houston's Minute Maid Park began life as Enron Field). An earlier edition of this book was published under the same title in 1991, but this volume includes 57 percent more entries (no Negro League parks were in the first edition), photographs, and completely rewritten, much livlier descriptions. An invaluable resource--and great fun, too. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


“A wonderful book.”—Bill James
“It’s a book triple play—excellent reference, great browsing, and terrific nostalgia.”—Sporting News  
“More than an excellent reference, it is fascinating to leaf through.” —USA Today

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Walker & Company; First Edition edition (October 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802715621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802715623
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,806,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lowell Prescott on October 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As ballpark reference books go, none is better than this one. Most if not all of the other ballpark books take their details from this. It's the best there is.

The updated version increases the number of parks covered, which is good in a way and bad in a way. On the one hand, it increases the thoroughness substantially. On the other, many of the ballparks included are pretty obscure and will be of only minimal interest to many ballpark fans.

The greatest disappointment is that the formatting is more or less the same as the last edition, and very hard to use as a reference or even to just browse.

The book is organized by city first, then by ballpark chronologically. But there are not page breaks by ballpark or even city. This means that one entry runs right into the next, with the ballpark entry titles only slightly larger than the subheadings, and the city titles only slightly larger than that (though there is a line to separate cities). This makes it hard for the eye to understand the organization.

At a minimum, entries for the current major league parks should be given different visual treatment from parks of other categories (i.e. current minor league parks, former major league parks, Negro League parks, etc.).

Additionally, the tops of the pages only contain the title of the book, rather than showing which city or ballpark is covered on the page (like you might find in a dictionary, encyclopedia, bible or even a phone book).

There is a fine index, but this shouldn't really be necessary because of the book's rock-solid organization.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William Griggs on November 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
It appears to be an interesting and well written book but I am only qualified to speak of those parks in my home city of Fort Wayne. Unfortunately the second addition creates more errors some of which are nothing short of hilarious. For examples:

The Kekionga ball grounds were never named The Grand Duchess at any point in its year and one half year history. The Grand Duchess was a central canopied grandstand which copied its name from the similar grandstand on the Union Grounds in Cincinnati. Lowry locates it north of Main Street where there is barely enough room for a wiffle ball park. He states its northern boundary was the canal and its eastern boundary was Frederick Street. Since Frederick Street was north of the canal we must assume Lowry thinks the Wabash and Erie Canal went through the middle of the ball grounds. The actual Kekionga grounds were one street south of Main Street between Elm and Fair Streets. It is shown by atlases, maps, plats, and legal descriptions (Lots 51-93 in Rockhills Second Addition) and is as historically verifiable as the location of the Statue of Liberty. His statement s that the current use is a “Catholic elementary school, homes, churches and Riverfront Park which hosts Fort Wayne’s 10-day Three Rivers Festival” is almost 100% balderdash. There are homes on the actual location. Everything else is totally fabricated without the slightest basis in fact. The actual Kekionga ball grounds were located just north of the historical Camp Allen which was south of Fair Street. The entire area, however, was collectively known as Camp Allen, probably because the military use spilled over the vacant land north of Fair Street which became the ball grounds.
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Format: Hardcover
When I first received the book 'Green Cathedrals' in the mail I was initially disappointed in that all the photographs are in black and white. However once I really examined the book I realized this book is truly unique in that it is the only book I am aware of that lists every ballfield ever used by a major league team or negro league team. This book required a ton of research. For example, if you ever wondered where the 1876 New York Mutuals of the National League played (I Have), this book has the answer. It includes the street names surrounding the park. This book is for a true baseball historians.
If this book is ever revised I'd love to see it made into several volumes. One for the Negro league, one for the early (wooden ballbarks), one for the classic era (Steel and concrete), such as Forbes Field, Ebbet's Field, etc., one for the multi-purpose era, and one for existing and future parks. I'd love to see it include the best available photographs of each. I'd buy the whole set.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Green Cathedrals is a perfect book for the fan who truly wants to know the nuts and bolts of each major league stadium and site, including Negro Leagues and many minor league stadiums as well. This isn't a coffee table photo essay; this is factual information on each sites history, including years of use, dimensions and wall heights, current use of property, etc. More than pictures can do, this book brings the park to life as only a true baseball fan could appreciate. Mr. Lowry deserves kudos for his long hours of research to put this labor of love together. A great research tool for anyone looking into a park's history, but also a great read for any rain delay, or other occasion.
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